Many entrepreneurs in the Middle East continue to struggle to secure funding, especially at the earliest stages of their startups. The call for a stronger funding ecosystem in the region has grown louder, but more people are stepping up to respond to this issue. One of the most creative and practical solutions is Venturefin, a crowdsourced investing platform now operating in Dubai. Serial entrepreneurs Ibrahim Jaber and Ahmed Al Qassimi launched Venturefin to provide a new avenue for funneling investments to the city’s most promising entrepreneurs.
However, not all entrepreneurs are able to engage investors through Venturefin. The company has established stringent criteria to ensure that only the companies with the greatest potential come before investors. To help with entrepreneur screening, the platform has partnered with the Hult Prize, a local accelerator focused on social entrepreneurship, and the Sustainability Platform, a consulting firm that works primarily on social impact. Venturefin plans to back both existing companies and startups and will judge value primarily on growth potential. Supported companies will receive both financial and intellectual services. Venturefin will treat its investments like partners and play an active role in scaling them to impressive proportions.
The founders of Venturefin pulled on their own backgrounds in entrepreneurship in Dubai to establish a platform that truly meets the needs of business owners in the area. While financial support is extremely important, that alone does not guarantee the success of a business. Because Venturefin is crowdfunded, the founders feel a greater obligation to give companies all the tools they need to succeed. Some of the advisors that the platform has recruited include 800 Inc. Chairman Rehan bin Noor Pathan, Hult Prize founder Ahmad Ashkar, and Barjeel Art Foundation founder Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi.
Venturefin is a radical departure from traditional approaches to investing in the Middle East. The organization aims not just to revolutionize the investment system, but also to alter fundamentally the ways in which Middle Eastern investors think about how they choose to divide their capital. Traditional investing focuses on larger, established companies, but the future of the region depends on supporting small- and medium-sized business, which will create the new jobs necessary for economic revitalization.
How the Venturefin Model Works
Not all investors understand what is meant by the word crowdfunding. Unlike traditional investing, which involves formal deals and little interaction, Venturefin aims to create a true investment community that allows entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors to interact on a regular bases. Through this community, entrepreneurs can seek out the investors and veteran business professionals that can offer them the best mentorship. Venturefin creates a safe and supportive environment for fostering mutually beneficial relationships between rising entrepreneurs and savvy investors.
All investment involves some degree of risk, but individuals hope to realize high returns from these gambles. With Venturefin, investors know that all startups have met the organization’s stringent criteria. Knowing that all businesses have high potential, investors seek out the projects that excite them the most. The platform does not require investors to make any minimum number or amount of investments, so that they do not feel forced into any deal. However, when these individuals are excited about a project, they can make an investment seamlessly through the Venturefin system.
The entrepreneurs that Venturefin chooses to work with are real innovators set on changing the way consumers look at certain products or issues. Venturefin endeavors to be a reliable source of investment that lets entrepreneurs focus on developing their ideas rather than endlessly looking for investors. The platform also connects entrepreneurs to the business leaders with the background needed to help them succeed in their respective sectors. The founders of Venturefin themselves have experience in a number of industries and have sought out a skilled team of mentors capable of helping companies seeking a share of virtually any market.
Advisory Services at Venturefin
The entrepreneurs behind Venturefin have created a system for connecting business owners to targeted advisory services. The platform has developed internal and external networks for providing focused answered to specific questions and holistic support to individuals with broader concerns. Advisors work closely with entrepreneurs to identify goals and create a plausible business plan for scaling and growing. Advisory services start with an initial screening, which diagnoses particular needs. These services are open to businesses raising capital through the company and to individuals who need to strengthen their business model to meet the stringent Venturefin criteria.
After the initial screening, business owners choose the package that will work best for them and begin implementing changes advocated for by advisors. These packages may focus on maximizing social impact, achieving financial sustainability, or scaling for continued growth. Some companies may want packages that focus on more than one of these goals. In addition, advisors can help with clerical issues, such as business registration. Venturefin experts and its external team track the changes that entrepreneurs make to ensure that the company is on the right path. Once it is evident that a business is on the right path, advisors continue to provide support to make sure that it stays on track.